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Tennessee eliminates Ole Miss from SEC Tournament, all eyes now on Chris Beard and Rebel head coach vacancy

Thanks for the memories Win Case

SEC Basketball Tournament - First Round Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images

The 2022-2023 Ole Miss men’s basketball season is very much finally over after a second round defeat at the hands of Tennessee, 70-55.

A final record of 12-21 is far from what anyone thought this team was capable of doing, and the firing of Kermit Davis seemed to provide a small shot in the arm to the team who won its first round SEC game last night and played well for the first half against UT.

The Rebels were ultimately overmatched, probably fatigued, and while the players did what it could, there’s just not enough pieces to run with a team like the Volunteers right now.

Enter the Ole Miss head coaching search.

It seems possible an announcement could come any day now that former Texas head coach Chris Beard will be the next head coach at Ole Miss, according to reports around the league. Beard has been named the “leading candidate” for the position and “on the verge” of being announced by various local and national college basketball pundits.

If so, the immediate future of Ole Miss basketball is likely to be on the upswing, because let’s be honest, it can’t get much worse. The Rebels have not had back to back losing seasons in nearly two decades, so athletic director Keith Carter certainly has to feel the pressure to win and win very soon. With a 237-98 overall record, Beard fits the bill as a winning basketball coach at the highest of levels.

Beard has his well documented off the court issues, and it will be up to Ole Miss to talk about that at a press conference and take the flack on social media. Fans can justify and point to other programs all it wants to, but let’s just call this what it is - bringing in a talented option with a checkered past. College and professional sports is rife with stories like this whether it is with players or coaches who make huge mistakes in their personal life, but their ability to do a job well or play a sport well glosses over what may or may not have happened.

So if Beard is the next coach at Ole Miss, there may be fans who boycott, stop giving money or vow to never watch another basketball game.

But I have a feeling the shine of a winning program and the passing of time eventually will bring most of them back. And for the sake of Carter’s career as an AD, I hope there are many wins and no more off-the-court allegations in Beard’s near future if he’s announced as the next head coach at Ole Miss.